I know the title is a bit cynical. And there’s a lot of hope in the five predictions in five years from IBM. However, I’m not convinced that any of them will be available if there isn’t a dollar amount tied.
I mean, it’s a laudable goal. And so much of how humans live on this planet could benefit from any of these predictions coming true.
But, like I’ve pointed out before, mass development and deployment are tied to a monetary value.
What Are the 5-in-5 from IBM?
Every year, IBM publishes its 5-in-5 list of predictions and technological advancements. It’s a list of five “goals” to be achieved over the next five years.
This year, a few of the items on the list are practical to achieve. But some…I can only see viable if it were profitable on Wallstreet.
And make no mistake, investors will be looking for a way to capitalize on various elements of this list.
The first item on the list is to capture and transform carbon dioxide to reduce the impact of climate change. This technology already exists and has been implemented on a small scale in certain parts of the world.
The problem with this one is that too many government officials in power don’t see climate change as that much of a problem. Even as temperatures rise, permafrost melts, and record-breaking natural disasters fill the news cycle, many are in denial.
If there isn’t money to be made from capturing the CO2, not enough people will get on board. That is unless IBM can convince other manufacturers to take the lead.
Replicating Nature to Feed the Masses
Another item on this list that has the potential of monetizing is being able to convert soil into a nitrate-rich fertilizer. This can help boost food production to feed the ever-growing population of Earth.
I think more of the problem with food shortage is not enough people putting in the effort. Sure, we have farmers who’ll start the Amazon Rainforest on fire. But what about the waste of land in the mid-west US?
I just grew giant pumpkins in the sand. It’s possible to do more for food production, as long as someone wants to put in the effort in the first place.
Development of New Batteries
I’m all for new types of batteries. Anything that can get humanity closer to creating the first Star Trek-style dilithium chamber is ideal in my book.
According to IBM, though:
The use of AI and quantum computing will result in batteries built with safer and more efficient materials for improved performance.
As I read that sentence, the theme to Terminator pounds in my head.
Eh, I’m sure AI will be able to find something viable that works better than Lithium-ion or Nickel-cadmium. But, will it happen over the next five years?
Depends on whether Elon Musk can sell it or not.
Using More Sustainable Materials
Sustainable materials is a very likely goal and prediction. In fact, humans have already been experimenting with different ways to sell and ship goods.
From green shipping materials to reducing the waste at the drive-thru, this is perhaps one that is easily achieved.
However, IBM is focusing more on semiconductors and electronics. And when it comes to technology, that’s when the dollar signs begin to pop up.
Who can sell what for an arm and a leg to do some menial chore you can do yourself?
Improving Overall Health of Humanity
If there is one thing COVID-19 has demonstrated is that humans are woefully unhealthy. And I’m talking about a general consensus of health and not the inaction of world governments to contain this virus.
This is another aspect that I think has merit, though. IBM touts using AI to analyze data to improve reaction time and reduce risks. What I want to know is why wasn’t this already a thing?
The problem here, though, is getting everyone on board. As in the case with COVID-19, the world was lied to in the beginning. If coverups happen as often as they do, what good is the data?
An analysis is only as good as the data that is available.
It’s a Nice Forecast, IBM, But…
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see all five of these predictions come true on a massive scale. But the skeptic in me just doesn’t see half of this list being practical unless some big money is thrown into the mix.
Sure, I bet the tech will be invented. But then it’ll sit on someone’s shelf for the next century until someone discovers a way to make it highly profitable.
Or, at least until the consumer base demands such technology.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.